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PCs table weak and ineffective elections financing act

EDMONTON, AB (November 21, 2012): Substantial changes are required to Bill 7, the Election Accountability Amendment Act, if it is going to live up to the government’s billing as being “a leader in election legislation countrywide,” the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

Despite a few improvements to leadership race disclosures and administrative penalties, the legislation still lacks the election financing accountability measures Albertans expected to see, Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said.  “There are still too many loopholes in this legislation for Albertans to have confidence in it,” Smith said. “We’ve seen very high profile examples recently of inappropriate donations that may have skirted the law. We would like to see those potential loopholes closed and more transparency around donation limits.”  The legislation ignores several recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer, including a fixed election date, a public list of prohibited corporations, and expanding the definition of prohibited corporation to include any organization that receives at least a third of its revenue from government.  Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said he is preparing several amendments to the legislation to give it more teeth. One particular area of concern, he said, is putting more onus on offending political parties to ensure they are not soliciting and accepting illegal contributions.  “In the past, we’ve seen the PC party try and blame everybody else for the illegal donations they accepted when it’s obvious that it’s the PC party that is actively soliciting these donations and leaning on prohibited corporations to give them,” Saskiw said. “This legislation needs to hold parties to a higher standard.”